Bolivia: Noviciado de la Región América Sur
Santos: Fidel de Sigmaringa, Leandro y Alejandro
We have three copies of this circular which we have designated by the letters A, B, and C. The body of the letter is identical for all three, but each ending is different, and in Fr. Champagnats handwriting, so we presume he added a personal note to each of the thirty-four communities which the institute had at the time.
19th January 1836
Our very dear brothers,
Our heart loves to remember you each day and to present you all to the Lord at the holy altar; but today we cannot resist the pleasant satisfaction of expressing to you our affectionate feelings, and of showing you our fatherly affection. Cherished and well-beloved, you are constantly the special object of our loving concern. All our desires and all our wishes are for your happiness, as you no doubt know. Our very dear brothers, this happiness is not the kind the world looks for and which it thinks it can find in material possessions. We wish and desire for you goods which are more solid and real. To serve God with fervor, to fulfill faithfully all the duties of our state, to work every day to detach our heart from creatures in order to give it to Jesus and Mary, to open it to all the movements of grace. That is what is really desirable and what we wish for you. Yes, our very dear brothers, religious and children of Mary, your glory should be to imitate and follow Jesus Christ; may this divine savior fill you with his spirit, may his wisdom direct you in everything you do for his glory.
We desire and wish that like Jesus Christ our divine model, you may have deep affection for the children. Break for them with holy zeal the spiritual bread of religion. Make every effort to train them in piety and to engrave on their young hearts religious sentiments which will never be erased.
May the union and charity of which the beloved disciple speaks always reign among you. May those who must obey perform this holy duty with humility, and may those who command do it with sweet charity; in this way the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit will always be with you. May true zeal for your perfection animate you, and may constant fidelity to your rule help you make more progress in it every day; but do not forget that exact observance of the rule is the true means of acquiring religious perfection.
Courage then, our very dear brothers, the sufferings and struggles of life last only a moment. Let us often look at the immense weight of glory which will be its reward forever, remembering always that the just Judge will crown only him who has conquered and persevered to the end.
A - May Jesus and Mary always have you in their holy keeping.
We have the honor to be your very devoted and affectionate father in Jesus and Mary,
P.S. I presume you are all in good health, that your work is becoming more and more successful. It has been a long time now since I heard from you.
B - I know your wishes for us are sincere and I am very grateful for them. May God himself, dear brother, deign to bless them, and we will be happy. I am not unaware of how much trouble and anxiety you are going through to keep an eye on everything. Once again, let God spread his blessings and all will be well.
Our very dear friend, tell your dear fellow-workers how dear they are to me, how much I love them in Jesus and Mary. Take very good care of their health. Tell Brother Onésime and the others how much I love them.
I embrace you all in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and I have the honor to be your very devoted father,
C - A Dieu, our dear children, may Jesus and Mary have you always in their holy keeping.